Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and the brother Timothy, to our friend and fellow-worker Philemon, and to the dear Apphia, and to our fellow-solder Archippus, and to the congregation in your house: Blessing and peace to you from our Father God, and Lord Jesus Christ.
When I give thanks to my God, I always make mention of you in my prayers; for I hear of your love, and the faith which you have to the Lord Jesus and to all the holy, so that your energetic unity in the Faith may advance into a recognition of every benefit their is for us in Christ. For I had pleasure and consolation from your friendship; and, brother, the feelings of the holy are comforted by you.
Although I might have complete freedom in Christ to demand an unusual thing of you, I would rather beg it for love--I am your old Paul, now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus. I beg of you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my captivity--he who was once useless to you, but now useful both to you and me--whom I have sent back. And now receive him, for he is my darling; whom I would like to have retained with me, so that instead of you, he might serve me in the bondage of the gospel. But without your consent I wished to do nothing; so that your benevolence might not be from necessity, but our of free will. Perhaps, for this reason indeed, he was removed from you for a short time, so that you might have him back for ever; no longer a slave, but more that a slave, a dear brother--especially so to me--but how much more to you, both in body and in the Lord! If, therefore, you have any sympathy with me, receive him as myself.
But if he has wronged or owes you anything, charge that to me. I, Paul, have written with my own hand, I will repay it. Yet I need not tell you that you also owe your own self to me. No, brother, make me happy in the Lord spontaneously; comfort my feelings in Christ.
I have written to you, confident of your acquiescence: for I know that you will do more than I ask. And therefore, also, prepare me a lodging; for I hope by your prayes to be welcomed by you.
Epaphras, my fellow-soldier in Christ Jesus, and my fellow-workers, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, send regards to you.
The blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
(Written to Philemon, from Rome, about 62 or 63 A.D., and conveyed through Onesimus, a domestic.)